AccessNI registered bodies

Only registered bodies are authorised to send standard and enhanced checks to AccessNI. Some registered bodies are also umbrella bodies. This allows them to manage AccessNI standard and enhanced checks for employers who aren’t registered bodies.

AccessNI regularly holds registered body training sessions for signatories and administrators processing AccessNI checks. Find out more at AccessNI training for registered bodies

Becoming a registered body

When an organisation applies to become a registered body, AccessNI checks whether:

  • they are likely to send more than 20 standard or enhanced check applications every year
  • they are a legitimate organisation entitled to ask an exempted question under the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Exceptions) Order (Northern Ireland) 1979
  • they will act in line with AccessNI’s code of practice

AccessNI can impose penalties on a registered body that breaks the conditions of registration.

The application to become a registered body must be completed by an appropriate person in the organisation. This person will act as the lead signatory. They must be over 18 and must never have been removed from AccessNI register. They will also be checked for any criminal record.

The lead signatory can appoint counter signatories. Only approved signatories are authorised to manage the registered body’s disclosure process. They make applications for checks and receive disclosure certificates.

Apply to become a registered body

Apply by logging in to your AccessNI account. If you don't have an account, you can register as part of the application.

Apply to become a counter signatory

You must be invited by an AccessNI registered body to become a counter signatory. You will need to create a new and unique account with AccessNI to apply.

Log in to access your registered body homepage

If you have applied online to become a registered body, you can log in to AccessNI to access your registered body homepage. You will be able to:

  • view and submit applications that have been sent to you
  • manage your account
  • track the progress of applications

You can click on the link below to log in to your AccessNI account.

Best practice for registered bodies

To make sure that registered bodies are operating in accordance with best practice, AccessNI have produced a code of practice and sample policy statements.

Code of practice for registered bodies

To protect information about applicants, registered bodies must comply with AccessNI’s code of practice. The code ensures that information released in standard and enhanced checks is:

  • used fairly
  • handled and stored appropriately
  • kept for only as long as is necessary, and no more than six months

AccessNI audits registered bodies to make sure of satisfactory compliance with the code of practice. AccessNI can deregister a lead or counter signatory in a registered body that doesn’t keep to AccessNI’s code of practice on information security.  

Registered bodies will not automatically be issued with a copy of the applicant’s certificate. However, registered bodies will require applicant’s to provide their certificates in the following cases:

  • the certificate includes criminal history or other information
  • the application for the certificate was not made online

If your organisation needs to ask an applicant to provide their certificate, you'll find a sample request letter at the link below.

Information provided in this way should be treated in line with AccessNI’s code of practice.

Policy statements for registered bodies

To reassure people undergoing AccessNI checks, registered bodies must also sign and keep:

  • a policy statement which confirms they meet AccessNI’s code of practice
  • a security policy statement which explains how they handle and store personal disclosure information

AccessNI has produced the following sample policy statement and sample security policy for registered bodies.

AccessNI audits registered bodies to make sure they keep accurate, signed security and policy statements.

Employers who receive disclosure certificates must comply with data protection rules.

Paying for disclosures

A registered body must pay for AccessNI checks on account. AccessNI issues a monthly invoice for a registered body’s completed checks during that period.

AccessNI can review the registration status of an organisation that doesn’t pay within 30 days. AccessNI can cancel an organisation’s registration for unpaid invoices.

When an employer changes AccessNI registration details

A registered body is responsible for keeping their account details accurate. To make changes they should log into their online account.  This includes changes to:

  • name
  • address
  • website
  • contact number

Umbrella bodies

If an employer needs less than 20 checks in a year, they can use an umbrella body to make applications to AccessNI. Most umbrella bodies charge fees for their services.

An umbrella body is a registered body that manages standard and enhanced checks for non-registered organisations. 

Find out more about umbrella bodies at the following nidirect page.

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